by Susan Haws
In "A Man Alone", Odo searched for the word "couple," attempting to comprehend such a foreign concept. Odo was self-centered, and could not conceive of the notion of compromise. With no perception, he inaccurately interpreted humanoid relationships in shallow surface terms. He was as unhappy on DS9 as Keiko initially was. The difference was that Odo would've been equally unhappy anywhere else. He was independent. He was infuriated by the suggestion that he was not the ultimate authority on the Promenade. Territory was crucial to him, and he was unreasonably possessive of it. Justice was his ruling card, regardless to whom it is enforced or of whom it protected. It wasn't out of compassion, but a simple black and white definition of right and wrong. Odo was indignant to the end and courageously held his ground. He never gave an inch. Nor did he take one; it was always a stubborn stand-off. He was admirable. Odo received no apologies when he was falsely accused of murder. He probably expected none and would have been highly embarrassed if so approached. "Things change," but Odo remained his own barometer of consistency.
A mysterious man named Croden committed a murder on DS9, and was promptly arrested by the ever vigilant Odo. While in Odo's custody, Croden showed him a small mineral shape-shifter which he claimed from an area known as the Chamra "Vortex" in the Gamma Quadrant. Odo's sense of justice was nearly overwhelmed by his increasing obsession with the man's stories of "changelings". His intense desire to finally know about his own origins would not allow him to completely dismiss Croden's stories. Odo's hopes were destroyed when he learned that the stories were merely unsubstantiated myths. But Odo was left with a shred of hope, more than he ever had before. If there were legends of a race of changelings, then maybe Odo's people did truly exist somewhere in the uncharted Gamma Quadrant.
In "The Forsaken", Odo's desperate attempts to remain alone were unsuccessful. Much to his consternation, Lwaxana Troi felt an immediate attraction to him and was zealous in her pursuit. Some of Odo's pain was revealed when he referred to himself as the "life of the party". His life as a specimen in a Bajoran research laboratory must have been unimaginably humiliating. I think it explained much of the reason why Odo has been so detached, defensive and distrustful. He was pessimistic and quite often quick to focus on negative aspects. During what must be Odo's most private moment, he was forced to place his trust in Lwaxana's lap. I believe he learned as much about himself as he did about her.
When Odo learned about a "Necessary Evil" Kira committed in the not so distant past, he kept his feelings well-hidden. She asked him, "Will you ever be able to trust me the same way again?" Odo didn't answer, but I think that revelation forever changed the relationship between them. Kira had been the only person Odo trusted, and he must have felt betrayed and disillusioned. There is a deep mutual respect between Odo and Kira. There is a bond between them which makes them natural allies and constant supporters. At times, each has been openly and unquestionably supportive of the other. Odo and Kira have something like a private coded language between themselves, and exchange knowing glances. Maybe Odo was not sure of the answer to Kira's question, or perhaps his respect for her was too great to reveal his true feelings.
In "The Alternate", Odo's pain and anger manifested itself with a vengeance. Odo unemotionally insisted that Dr. Mora Pol is not his father, yet his suppressed emotions were those of an adult who struggles to deny the pain and anger of an abusive childhood. The Bajoran scientist certainly was not Odo's father, but he was the closest thing to a parent that Odo had ever known. What began as the scientific study of an unknown specimen, had evolved into a relationship for both of them that was not unlike a family situation. Having no other outlet, Odo's pain and anger vented itself on a subconscious level, yet it took on a form that was both tangible and dangerous. I believe the manifestation was a breakthrough for Odo which allowed him to reconcile with his "father."
It was most interesting to realize in "Crossover" that Odo is not necessarily motivated by a need for justice. I had difficulty understanding why the Odo in the "Mirror" universe had such a disregard for justice, until I learned in "The Search, Part II" that he is motivated by a need for order. Under Odo's vigilant supervision, there was defiantly well-maintained order on the Promenade in the "Mirror" universe. Although the methods implemented were radically different, both Odo's were little different from each other. Because Odo's concept of order is opposed to that of the Founders, he is more alone than ever. He is a unique individual even among other changelings.